Synopses & Reviews
Wraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside, has a sinister reputation. Once, a family disappeared there. And now Constance Langton has inherited this dark place as well as the mysteries surrounding it.
Having grown up in a house marked by the death of her sister, Constance is no stranger to mystery, secrets, and the dark magic around us. Her father was distant. Her mother was in perpetual morning for her lost child. In a desperate atempt to coax her mother back to health, Constance took her to a seance hoping she would find supernatural comfort. But tragic consequences followed, leaving her alone in the world — alone with Wraxford Hall. Saddled with this questionable bequest, she must find the truth at the heart of all these disappearances, apparitions, betrayal, blackmail, and villainy, even if it costs her life.
John Harwood's second novel delivers on the great promise proven by his first with this gripping mystery set in the heart of Victorian England.
"What makes Harwood's writing special...is his ability to weave stories from different time periods and a cast of well-drawn characters into a believable, well-integrated whole. A fascinating historical portrait and a frightening tale that will generate suspicions of trapdoors and bodies in the attic." Booklist
"Eleanor's secret journal hints at the truth, and the two stories — Constance's and Eleanor's — mesh in the thrilling conclusion....Indeed, the ways in which Harwood plays with the conventions of the form provide the main source of delight." Keith Donohue, The Washington Post Book World
"[W]e are taken into the night side of Victorian belief: what possesses those possessed by spirits? Is real possession a possibility, and which is more frightening — if it is true, or if it is all a giant hoax?...The narrative, gracefully conceived, beautifully achieved, races along." The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"Harwood, who has been compared to Wilkie Collins, has crafted a fast-paced ghost story with an old-fashioned touch. Recommended." Library Journal
"Harwood makes it work. The Australian writer's narrative is seamless; despite the supernatural underpinnings of his story, the reader willingly suspends disbelief." The Seattle Times
"[T]he reader remains hooked. Further treats lurk for those who spot clear allusions to genre authors Wilkie Collins and M.R. James....Perfect fare for a standard dark and stormy night." Kirkus Reviews
From the author of The Ghost Writer comes a haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth — even at the cost of their lives.
A haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth, by the author of The Ghost Writer Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plow the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there . . .” Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constances sister, the child she lost.Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.
So begins The Séance, John Harwoods brilliant second novel, a gripping, dark mystery set in late-Victorian England.
It is a world of apparitions, of disappearances and unnatural phenomena, of betrayal and blackmail and black-hearted villainsand murder. For Constances bequest comes in two parts: a house and a mystery. Years before, a family disappeared atWraxford Hall, a decaying mansion in the English countryside with a sinister reputation.Now the Hall belongs to Constance. And she must descend into the darkness at the heart of theWraxford Mystery to find the truth, even at the cost of her life.
About the Author
John Harwood is the author of two previous novels of Victorian Gothic suspense. Aside from fiction, his published work includes biography, poetry, political journalism and literary history. His acclaimed first novel, The Ghost Writer, won the International Horror Guild's First Novel Award. He lives in Hobart, Australia.